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Man City leaves it late to beat Southampton 3-2

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) -Defending Premier League champion Manchester City left it late to come from behind and beat promoted Southampton 3-2 in the opening match of its title defense on Sunday.

Carlos Tevez put City ahead with a neat finish in the 40th minute at Etihad Stadium, but goals from substitutes Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis gave Southampton a shock 2-1 lead by the 67th.

It lasted for only four minutes though, with Edin Dzeko scoring from close range in the 71st to draw City level before Samir Nasri scored 10 minutes from time after collecting a loose ball in the area and firing home.

While City manager Roberto Mancini was pleased with the belief shown by his team, he felt there were plenty of aspects to be improved upon.

"The first game when you start the season is always difficult," Mancini said. "It is important to have this character, but next time we should close the game. I think because it is the first game and we have only been back for two weeks, this happens."

City forward Sergio Aguero was carried off on a stretcher after injuring his knee in the 14th minute.

"I am worried about Sergio because anything around the knee is dangerous and this injury was so strange," Mancini said. "We will have to wait, but we are not sure exactly what the problem is at this point. We will know more after he has had a scan. Until then, we must wait."

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins was full of praise for his side's performance and believes his players can improve.

"I think they (Manchester City) only conceded 12 goals at home last season. We've just scored two against them today," Adkins said. "Our defenders have just played against the best forward line they've ever played in their lives, and I think manfully they've put a good performance in today.

"We'll learn the lessons from today's game. We have to keep our belief strong that we can come away from home and win points, because that's what we have to do."

Southampton is at home to Wigan in the next round, while City travels to Liverpool.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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